The director of operations for Westbrook schools has been chosen to be Biddeford’s next superintendent.

The Biddeford School Committee voted unanimously Thursday to hire Jeremy Ray as superintendent beginning July 1. He will replace Sarah-Jane Poli, who will retire June 30 after eight years as superintendent and 48 years as an educator in Biddeford.

Ray will be paid $118,000 per year under his three-year contract.

Ray, who lives in Saco with his family, now is the director of operations for Westbrook schools. He previously spent seven years as principal of Canal School in Westbrook.

Poli announced her retirement in January. Assistant Superintendent Jeff Porter said Ray was chosen after a four-month search that drew 17 applications.

Ray said he is excited to work in Biddeford because it is a “good match” for him and his family.

“Biddeford is a community that has always interested me,” he said. “It has a small-town feel in not exactly a small town.”

He said he plans to look for new and innovative ways to provide the best education possible for students.

Porter said Ray will bring “a lot of enthusiasm” to the district.

“The School Committee was looking for that (enthusiasm), some new ideas and someone who embraces new technology and curriculum ideas,” he said. “They were looking to start a new chapter and he fit the bill for that.”

Ray, who has a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Maine, has long aspired to be a school superintendent. In high school, he spent a lot of time with the assistant principal to see how school leadership worked. He began his career as assistant principal and athletic administrator of Dexter Middle School before joining the Westbrook School Department in 2004.

“I’ve had the luxury in Westbrook of working with two great superintendents and seeing the impact they can have on a school district,” he said.

Ray said one strength of the Biddeford School Department is the commitment of teachers to their students and the strong support of the community.

“Tiger pride certainly showed itself to me throughout the (hiring) process,” he said.

Alan Casavant, who as mayor serves as chairman of the School Committee, said he is confident that Ray will bring strong communication skills and a solid background in finance to the district.

He also praised Ray’s “tremendous energy and a willingness to implement a vision and work with people.”

Staff Writer Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

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